Art of Woman

Men and women equality

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I read the Dominion Post newspaper. 19 July, had a story on its front page about a sexist backlash. New Zealand has a woman Prime Minister and Chief Justice. This gives the impression that women are equal to men right up to the top levels of society. Unfortunately recent figures show that women's pay parity has lost ground in recent years. More disturbing is the figure that shows an increase in domestic violence and violence against women by men.

What does this mean? Have women lost power and some men are taking advantage of that? Are some men angry with women for making progress and desiring parity with them? Do some men feel that the only way they will have a woman as a companion is by exerting power over her?

Surely relationships are more rewarding when both the man and woman know they are both happy to be in the relationship, that both parties are willingly staying and enjoying the relationship. A true friendship and meeting of minds, spirit, and emotions creates an intimacy that is extremely rewarding for both the man and woman. A bond built on trust, love and free will is more joyous than one built on coercion and power struggles.

It would be good if men could back off on the domination and power games with women. Women also could put more effort into articulating their affection and appreciation of their favourite man, noticing the efforts he does and appreciating the resources that he shares.

Men and women have the potential to bring out the best in each other. Unfortunately, when fear of pain or rejection sets in, then men and women can hurt each other very badly indeed. Both men and women loose out on the potential joys of the partnership.

Work relationships are not the same as personal relationships. And women, all people, deserve equal pay for equal work. Pay parity is a justice issue. To pay any group in society less than any other for the same work, is exploitation. In Australia, the jobs where women tend to dominate, also tend to have lower pay structures. Most notable is Motherhood, where there is no pay at all for many women, and, for many women, no maternity leave, so no security. A close second lowest is baby-sitting, then child care workers. Yet rearing the next generation of children is one of the most responsible tasks that builds a strong and caring society.

There is still plenty of work to do to before women truly have equal opportunity within the workplace or their careers.